Street Photography – Make sure to get it right! By Elie Bescont


By Elie Bescont

Hey there, welcome! Please, have a seat, have a seat. Tea? Coffee? Nothing, you sure? That’s your call, but you are really missing something here. Oh, speaking of which. I almost forgot why I invited you in my virtual living room (don’t make a mess, by the way. I spent the entire afternoon cleaning after a Guns’n’Roses private concert). Well, we are here to discuss a little bit about street photography. Yeah, sorry, we will talk about funnier stuff later. But still, my friends, this is gonna be cool.

I’d like to take you with me on a tour around the entire process of street photography. Before, during and after the so-called ‘decisive moment’. We will first discuss about the philosophy of the whole thing. What is street photography? I’ll give you a hint right away: it has nothing to do with the Google car. I’m sorry to disappoint some of you, but Google Street View is NOT street photography at all. Yes, the Google car takes photographs in the streets, but I must insist, it has nothing to do with it. After talking a little bit about the philosophy, I will take you to the gear department, where you will choose your favorite lens (yes, I’m talking about the lens) and then the camera. We will then discuss about the right place (or the field) for street photography, I will give you some hints to help you taking good pictures (yes, it may sound a little presumptuous, since I’m an awful photographer). Last but not least, I will talk about post-processing, how to market your work, and the reason why you should join or create a photography collective and the right way to do it. You may not agree with me about some details, and feel free to give me your view on the subject. I’m talking about ‘the right way’, bla bla bla, but I do this to hook you up a little bit. This is art, dudes, there is no right way, but you may like to read my advice.




‘Street photography has nothing to do with the Google car, right?

Calm down, bro. You should really have a tea or something. You’d speak less with something hot in your mouth. Haha I see you coming with your comments about ‘something hot in your mouth’. Well, please don’t. And stop asking stupid questions, I was about to answer that one anyway.

According to Wikipedia, street photography is ‘a genre of photography that features subjects in candid situations within public places and does not necessitate the presence of a street or even the urban environment. ‘Street’ simply refers to a place where human activity can be seen, a place to observe and capture social interaction. The subject can even be absent of any people and can be that of object or environment where an object projects a human character or an environment is decidedly human.’

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But, we can read something even more interesting on Wikipedia: ‘Framing and timing are key aspects of the craft, with the aim of creating images at a decisive moment or poignant moment. Alternatively, the street photographer may seek a more prosaic depiction of the scene, as a form of social documentary.’

Street photography has indeed nothing to do with Google Street View, since framing and timing are ‘key aspects of the craft’. I insist on this particular point because I’ve been browsing the internet lately, and eight times out of ten, when people exhibit their ‘street photography’ work, framing and timing are simply not involved. Sometimes, it looks like the person just pointed a camera in a random direction in the street and pushed the button. Sorry to disappoint you but you are not doing street photography here. And there is a very simple explanation: you got the street photography philosophy WRONG. Street photography has not that much to do with the streets, but has a lot to do with photography. Just by reading the description in Wikipedia, we learn that it does NOT necessitate the presence of a street or even the urban environment. Also, it does NOT necessitate the presence of human beings. BUT, on the other hand, framing and timing are key. Please, don’t think about it the other way around.



Please, don’t shoot me.

This is the sensitive part of the article. ‘My camera is better than yours, bla bla bla…’

Well, you know what? Talking about image rendering, the camera is nothing. It has very less to do with it. The character of an image mainly depends on the character of the LENS used.

‘Aha! You are fucked, Leica users! Stop arguing about how your EXPENSIVE cameras are great, because what really counts is th… Wait… What?!’

Yes, what really counts is the lens… Talking about the character of the pictures, of course (and everybody knows how GREAT and EXPENSIVE Leica lenses are). Choosing a camera is really about the shooting experience itself… And what lens you can put on the body. There are plenty of great lens manufacturers out there like Zeiss, Leica, Canon (and their f/0.95 TV lens) and so on. Since this article deals with street photography, I will mainly talk about the shooting experience itself – hence, the camera. But keep in mind that it’s the character of the lens which defines the overall rendering of an image.

This said, it you feel comfortable with any camera and if you have no problem at all going on the streets unnoticed with any camera, don’t chose a camera. Chose a lens, and then pick up a body on which you can mount this piece of glass you want.

I’m done talking about image rendering and how it’s important to choose a lens first if it’s what really counts for you. I promise. I just want to make sure everybody gets it because I’m desperate to see camera reviews taken very seriously when there is no mention of the lens used anywhere.

There are some points to take in account when choosing a new camera. First of all, you have to compare how many pixels the sensor can offer. I’m joking, I’m joking! Put that gun back on the table, please. Any film camera is great, and any digital camera which can offer the same equivalent definition is great too. There are a lot of cameras that offer millions of useless extra-pixels and the amount of pixel is not, in 2013, a good point to take in account when choosing a new camera, UNLESS you really need this print to cover the entire wall of my virtual living room which doesn’t even have limits.

Henri Cartier-Bresson once said: ‘sharpness is a bourgeois concept’. Well this is WRONG. Sharpness is not a bourgeois concept, not any more. There are some (a few) very rich photographers out there, and they didn’t get rich by taking sharp pictures. Everyone can take sharp images today with virtually any camera. Sharpness is a poor concept (haha, Henri, you owe me that beer, finally). Remember, Henri was French and us French, we talk like that. He could have just said ‘dudes, sharpness is not what really matters, yaknow’, but he prefered to say ‘sharpness is a bourgeois concept LMAO LOL’. Damn he was so French. Love you Henri, sorry for the trouble. May you rest in peace.


The question you need to answer is: what kind of shooting experience you like? But even before that, do you want to shoot film or digital? You should think about it. The shooting process is the same with film and digital cameras (except the new professional DSLR’s. ‘BUTTONS. BUTTONS EVERYWHERE’). Here, I have a Canon AE1-Program SLR film camera and a Leica M8 digital camera, and they basically work the same way. Well, one is an SLR and the other is a rangefinder but take an M7 and an M8. They are very similar. The main differences between film and digital have nothing to do with the shooting experience. Yes, you don’t push the button that often if you shoot film because film is expensive bla bla bla. Hey, dude, it depends. I’ve seen six-year old digital cameras for sale with less than 3000 clics. The main differences are elsewhere. Do you want to keep a collection of boxes containing negative film or do you want these boxes to contain SD cards? Do you scan your negatives? Yes? Then you have digital files full of pixels that have nothing to do with film but you still pay for it. Film is great for its nice organic grainy look, no matter the size of the ‘print’. Well, you know the characteristics of each. Then, what kind of shooting experience you like? Do you like DSLR’s? Rangefinders? Both? That is an important question. I saw people on the internet wondering if they should get a Nikon D800 or a Leica M9. No sane people should ask such questions. You know, orange and apples…

I don’t think there is a perfect camera for street photography, or for anything else. The perfect camera is the one that suits you the best. So, try a lot of them, and take the one you feel best with. This said, I’d like to give you a little advice: if you are a street photographer, forget that Hasselblad that weights about three tons, you will understand why soon enough.


The topic here is the field. Places that are relevant for street photography. Remember, our dear friend Wiki told us about candid situations within public places, but also that street photography does not necessitate the presence of a street or even the urban environment. So, a lot of places are relevant. I would just forget about private properties, but that’s all, really. A forest is a public place, for instance. Never thought about shooting in a forest? Don’t shoot animals, of course, shoot people… Holy crap! What am I talking about?! Please, feel free to replace ‘shoot’ by ‘take pictures’ if I didn’t make myself clear.


Isn’t it great? You can go virtually anywhere and keep doing what you like the most: street photography. Remember, the place is not that important. Focus on your subject and the situation you want to isolate, and push the button at the right moment.


‘If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough’ – Robert Capa.

What really counts here is the scene or your subject. You might be looking for a nice scene to capture, or for an interesting subject.

An interesting subject, to me, is someone who is either very typical or who is the complete opposite. Capturing someone who looks completely French with Notre Dame in the background is interesting, for instance. But you could also wait for this woman in niqab to pass by to release the shutter. To make myself clear, look for contrasts or similarities. Things that match or unmatch get along very well.

An interesting scene is basically the same. contrast or similarities. Typical or atypical. A little girl smiling, amused by a clown is good. But capturing a man in suit and tie having fun with gangsta-looking people (bling-bling chains, baggy jeans and all) would be nice too. Public places are where people met, and these interactions are interesting.


When the scene or subject is found, the next step is to find a nice way to capture it. I will not teach you how to frame because nothing in the world is easier than that. Just isolate your subjects but also take a look at the background. Do you want to cut the top of this tree, there, in the background? You know, you should crouch a little bit, so you will get the top of the tree inside the frame, this would look better… Well, you got my point. Just try to please your eyes with a nice geometry. Then, think about the aperture. If you have only one subject to photograph, you might want to shoot around f/2 to isolate him/her. If you are capturing a scene that takes more place, you’d prefer to shoot around f/4. Again, just try to please your eyes and don’t be afraid to get close. This is not Vietnam. Be gentle, smile and take these pictures.


First of all, if you shoot digital, you have to be okay with that. Post-processing is not an ugly blasphemy that completely transforms your pictures. It’s just a way to enhance them a little bit. Take a look at Lightroom, Capture One, Camera Raw and Photoshop and use the software that really suits you. Here again, the magic formula works: try to please your eyes. But also remember that the way you process your images will never suit to everyone. There will always be someone to tell you that ‘yeah, the picture looks good but the treatment would be better like this, like that’. Well, hi Dick. Can I call you Dick? Thanks for the advice bro. Have a nice day!

Your post-processing will never please everyone, so try to be happy with it and say ‘thank you’ and ‘have a nice day’ to Dick whenever he gives you a good advice. Experience things, have fun and when it look good, bam. Export the file.



That’s it, you took a lot of pictures and some of them are pretty decent. Post-processed files look awesome, but what are you gonna do with it? You probably want to show your work to people on the internet, right? Take a look at Flickr, 500px and Tumblr, creating a Facebook page isn’t a bad idea either. But there is a better way to expose your work. I’ve seen a lot of people out there taking pictures only to show them to other photographers. A page like ‘Dick Dickinson Street Photography’ will certainly catch people who already know, like and do street photography, but that’s not what you want. You want a catchy name for anyone. Also, if one day you want to try something else like shooting in a studio or whatever, your title will be wrong. Thus, you should prefer something like ‘Dick Dickinson Photography’. Or you can see you work as a project and find a name for it. For instance, my page is called ‘Digital Fragrance Photography’. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t chose a name suck as ‘Dick Dickinson Street Photography’, I’m saying that chosing a name that is catchy for anyone (and not only street photography aficionados) may make things easier for you when it comes to marketing. Of course, you can gather thousands of followers with a ‘street photography’ name, and I have a good example: Yanidel Street Photography. Of course, he has thousands of followers but Yanick is more than a photographer. He’s a street photography guru. Are you? I’m not.


Are you still here? If so you are heroes, my friends. You deserve a medal. This is the last part of this utterly boring article. Last part, yes, but not the least. What I have to say now is: if you want to give your pictures more visibility, you should really join or create a photography collective. Why? Because once united, you are not alone anymore. Imagine five, ten, twenty people sharing the same project and working together to give more visibility to their work. A lot of things become a little easier. Besides, it creates a lot of new problems too so be ready to face them, but it’s basically a good thing to work things out together.

Okay, pal. I’ll create a collective. But with who? And how should it be named? Can I have some coffee?’

Damn you. I asked you at the very beginning if you wanted some tea or coffee, you said no. And now we reach the end, you want coffee. If you didn’t only exist in my head, I’d kick your ass… Well, not exactly but I would certainly snap your nose. Hum. You can ask anyone to join, but let me give you some advice, again. You should choose people you get along well with, for logic reasons you understand. You should choose people who you’d call talented, still for logic reasons you understand. And, also very important, you should choose people who do something different from you. In a street photography only collective, everyone are competitors and this is quite stupid. Get along with studio photographers, fine art photographers, landscape photographers or whatever. A good collective is a collective where everyone does something different from each other. Why? For several reasons. As you all do something different, you are not direct competitors and the collective can work very well without putting anyone aside. Also, as everyone does something different from each other, everyone will bring a different public and this is good for everyone. How should you name it? Something simple and appealing, for sure. Think about our buddy Henri Cartier-Bresson. He wanted to create something huge, and he called it ‘Magnum’ that means ‘huge’ in Latin. It’s simple, appealing and huge. I’d consider something like ‘Digital Fragrance’ myself. Wanna join?


‘No more energy’

That’s all. I said everything I wanted to say. It’s quite a long article but I hope you enjoyed it. I hope it gave you some ideas and please, if you don’t agree with me, feel free to share you views and to call me ‘Dick’. I don’t mind.

Take care of yourselves,




  1. Yes Elle’s article is long and sometimes boring, but we didn’t have to read it. Snoop Doog is an artist who lyrics unfortunately have been quoted here and elsewhere by thoughtless thousands. This doen’t make it right because his words can and have harmed countless thousands of innocent men women, children races, countries, and places. We should choose our public words more carefully if we don’t want to offend, Elle.
    Street photography IMHO gives many uncaring and thoughtless photographers the license to both offend and intrued on people’s personal lives. I’ve observed that some of us here and on other sites make images of the poor, the helpless and the innocent without care and thought to those persons rights to privacy. I haven’t seen any discussion on how to approach a human subject to get his, hers, or their permission to be photographed.
    We do live in a world were photography in public places and forums are prohibited due to security reasons. Where are the discussions regarding these matters? Elle is right street photography is not just about limiting your vision and creativity to urban settings or people. Let’s get away from the “up front and impersonal” (invasive) and get back to creative or journalistic photography.
    And to be honest, Steve is the man to lead the way in this endeavor. I’ve also seen many of you on this site that can teach us how to be more caring and thoughtful in our efforts in this photographic style.
    Thanks again Elle for sharing and for stimulating this discussion.


  2. Oh my! Minus all the gibberish, the author could’ve finished his article in 10 lines; or less. It’s no wonder why this post has garnered so many criticisms. One of the most I see in Steve’s site.

  3. “The main differences between film and digital have nothing to do with the shooting experience”

    Once I read this I stopped reading because I think we are very different people.

    I shoot film almost exclusively for the experience. I enjoy the anticipation of what might be. Once I see the image on the digital screen of my M9P it essentially ruins the fun. I like winding my M6 to the next frame – the quiet sound of the mechanical shutter – the process of unwrapping and loading the film – winding the film when done – I even enjoy the smell of film. It’s a physical thing that is created every time you hit the shutter release. it feels visceral in nature. Don’t get me wrong, I love my digital Leica and I use it as much as my film Leica, but the shots I’ve done with film are different and I think that all comes down to how shooting with film makes me feel (the shooting experience). As for the final result, I think film has a great look, but it can be a huge pain to correct the white balance and processing and scanning is tedious so I’ll give you that, but it’s rewarding to know you are not taking “the easy way out” with digital. I think it’s good to work for your image. It helps train the eye.

    So in my case your comment doesn’t apply, but I guess different strokes for different folks!

  4. Gosh, Elie, I thought when you said “The character of an image mainly depends on the character of the LENS used.” So I kept reading, thinking you’d let us know your favorites. Not.

    The article title Street Photography – Make sure to get it right! made me think, “…finally, someone is going to explain model releases and the legal aspects of marketing photographs. Not.

    You do have model releases for the subjects included in this article…right? Assuming you might want to sell some of your work.

    Anyway, your writing style is unique and affords a different perspective on “Street Photography.” I see no reason to hammer on folks who take the time to contribute their thoughts regardless of whether I agree with them. Look at it this way, you’d probably be more offended if no one responded to your efforts.

  5. It’s like the Chicago Sun-Times. Written journalism and photographic journalism should be kept separate and discrete, otherwise you end up with what we have here.

  6. Great article Eli. I enjoyed it, so many articles are just plain boring and this was entertaining and I really agree with your views on why equipment is not so important. Heck, you can us an iPhone for street photography if you are skilled enough. I liked your images as well.

  7. As it is weird that people using LEICA are considered as rich people without any talent. These who criticizes LEICA without any good reason dream to get one but they can’t accord it.

  8. Fun article. Lots of great tips that I appreciate. But let me see if I’ve got it right. I spent a day in Paris a couple of years ago and made it down to the walkway along the Seine. Lo and behold, I see a dead, somewhat squashed rat. Not so romantic. So, I fled back up to the “streets,” one of the elements of your essay. Since then I’ve regretted not taking its photograph. But if I had, it would not really qualify as “street photograph”, right? Near the street, but more importantly, no people. Just a rat photo–urban wildlife, no?–and way past the “decisive moment,” by several days I would guess. But . . . now I think I should have just waited until a beautiful French woman (no tourists, please) walked by and could have captured her expression when she stumbled across the dead rat. Decisive, but not so good. Okay, I capture her beautiful legs and unusual sandals at just the right moment when she walks past the rat. Perhaps jumping to the side. This would be intriguing, to say the least, but does it now qualify as “street photograph.” Oh, I should add, I was carrying a Leica M9 with a great 50mm f1.4 lens. So far, so good. Can I enter it in a Street Photography contest?

  9. Aww, poor Steve… I think this article have you a bit of headache and admin.. moderating all relies now? :p
    No need to post this one, just sending you a sympathising thought… 🙂

  10. most of the above pics have nothing to do with ‘streetphotography’ in it’s ‘old’ and traditional meaning.
    This kind of photography is more than choosing a “right” camera/lens, it’s the magic and mystery of anticipation of a story in one frame cutted out of the time stream and freezed with the help of a still camera.

    Here is one of the best example of this certain style:

    • Thanks for the link.
      I agree with others’ comments that the author’s style is overwrought, distracting, and for myself ultimately annoying. The whole inner dialog style of the author gives the impression that the author just ran out of informed content.

      All of this could have been avoided, if the author just pointed to the link you provided, and asked “think of what the photographer had to be aware of, and what s/he had to do, to put him/her in a position to capture the shot”. That’s all that was needed.

  11. GREAT article! You summarized in very condensed form how to find an interesting motive: “look for contrasts or similarities. Things that match or unmatch get along very well.” Genius. I always knew I loved contrasts, but I realise how I love what is matching as well… My favourite photo from the ones features is the hand in the hair one. Thanks a lot for a grate piece and lovely, humour-filled language.

  12. Don`t try to be cool so desperately, don`t try to be funny if you simply aren`t, avoid the usage of terms and jargon from languages other than your native one as they might have a different meaning than what you believe and could seriously insult others, and do avoid to be so f… condescending. And as the young man you are, don`t be so full of yourself, learn humbleness, as both, your writing and picture taking leave room for improvement. Although, I admit, I believe you have some talent.

  13. You can thank the Internet for all of this. It’s the ultimate platform for mediocre big mouths who would otherwise not have a stage to stand on. An article like this, with those images, would not have stood a chance in print a mere ten years ago, in any semi-serious photography magazine, let alone any consideration from galleries or buyers. But hey, maybe someone can figure out how to monetize all this exposure and all the Flickr additions and Facebook likes. Good luck with that.

  14. I usually go out of my way to not be critical of something that someone has taken the time to put on the internet because I don’t enjoy trashing people or what they do. So I’m not going to go after the writing style or the images.

    I’d just like to know why there are SO many people trying to tell so many OTHER people what real or good street photography is and should be and how to do it? Everything that I’ve ever seen written by everyone on their blogs or in articles like this are invariably prescriptions for sameness in an area of photography that is plagued above all else by the impulse to create images that are derivative of the same iconic masters.

    I have news for everyone. None of you people, not this nice lady, not any of the even much more established bloggers, should be telling anyone what street photography is. Get over yourselves. Most of your images all look alike… you’re all going for the same thing and then patting yourself and then giving your very unoriginal “personal” styles of street photography a big pat on the back by try to tell others how to do the same things.

    • If you take away one item from a blog- you are ahead of the game!

      Nobody charged you a penny to read it.. at least until Steve figures out how to “monitize” the comments.

    • Donald, a little googling would have told you Elie Bescont is a Leica M toting guy. Probably nice, not a lady.

        • Ok, got it now… ;-). His is a slightly hysterical style, usually adopted by those that live in fear of getting adequate attention. Not my cup of tea.

          Wait, there was another poster here (the “not even a Leica” guy) not so long ago, who blatantly admitted to having “spiced up” his story after the first version looked too “dull” to him.


  15. Most important comment made about street photography!!

    “Since this article deals with street photography, I will mainly talk about the shooting experience itself – hence, the camera. But keep in mind that it’s the character of the lens which defines the overall rendering of an image.”

    • MikeD800, those shots are great; the hippo trio is just so funny with both women so pleased with their handiwork – what a wonderful hoot.
      Thanks for the link.
      And a yawning chasm away from the stuff presented above.

  16. So Elie,
    you clicked wikipedia, you quoted Robert Kapa, you presented information for knowledge and you offered us tea or coffee on the opening of your stand-up comedy.
    Unfortunately, it does not take a camera, a lens and usually a ticket for impoverished places to make somebody a street photographer. Street photography, above all, needs a well embedded multidisciplinary education and a multicultural approach. It needs consistency, effort and time.
    Therefore please let us see some of your finest examples of street photography, not in Face Book just here. Why do not present your guests your finest portfolio???
    Dimitris V. Georgopoulos
    Photographer at Large
    Athens, Greece.

    • Completely agree. Empathy and understanding are important, the world does not exist just as a photo opportunity. Care and considered decisions need to be taken if street photography is to be anything more than voyeuristic and invasive.

  17. Thanks for pointing this out.

    I use Flickr where the license can be set in various ways like “None (All rights reserved)” and there is also other less restricted options for licensing which can be set individually for each uploaded image.

    I would never ever grant anybody else the rights to my photographs even if they may be worth nothing at all to anyone else.

  18. Choosing tools and figuring out how to conveniently shoot people in public places are really marginal issues.

    What you really should write about is how to make street photos that pass the “who cares?” test. A couple sitting in a bench, who cares? People on a bridge, who cares? Nice composition with a person in it, who cares?

    Making street photography that is photographically beautiful, subjective and captivating is extremely difficult. That’s what you should write about, perhaps the next post?

  19. You seem to have a lack of respect for your subjects, your audience and your self.
    Your article has taught me nothing, and to be honest, I am the poorer for reading it. You are not funny, but seem to be attempting to disguise your arrogance and contempt for others with comedy.
    All people are human and deserve respect, we are not all French, and that is not our fault. We are still human beings.

  20. It was good idea to try to cover the whole process, but the material would be more useful if it wasn’t so pompously written and the pictures were adequate to the subject…

  21. I like this article. Easy to read and interesting suggestions. I like the pictures very much, especially the third picture. It has everything: emotions, movement and a sense of presence.

    Keep up the good work, Elie!

  22. A lot of talking while saying nothing at all. Although the tone of the writing feels pretentious to me, the pictures that go with it look mediocre at best.

  23. I’m really looking forward to the time when the hipsters have got tired of ‘shooting street’ and moved on to some other fad. There are some great photographers who happens to be working in the streets but I doubt they are spending their lives on the Internet posting badly composed photos of the backs of people’s heads and shouting ‘hey dude, look at me me I’m an edgy street ‘tog!!’. This kind of stream-of-consciousness article actually sums this up rather well. Lots of arm waving, faux hip language and attempts at humour and insight but utterly vacuous and teeth-nashingly irritating.

  24. Damn it…
    This kind of article is the exact reason which explains why, when I go abroad, I always feel shameful to say I am a french.
    I live abroad now, in Asia, I’m an expat, I when I read such article it reminds me that I have nothing in common with french people of your type.
    Insulting article, poor on content, a lot of blablabla written in a kind of provocative way, well…
    A lot of noise for little content.

    • Guillaume,

      I know how French are abroad, I travel too. I hate it. Did you even notice I was making fun out of that?


      Bon weekend!

      • Elie,

        You missed the point. Guillaume is saying your article exactly emulates exactly what shames him about saying he is french (Insulting article, poor on content, a lot of blablabla written in a kind of provocative way, well… A lot of noise for little content.) and i guess because you say you hate this kind, you may want to look at yourself

        Although i have a question regarding “Did you even notice I was making fun out of that?”, does that mean that for the whole time in your article you were being the french type you claim you hate on purpose? Because you were just that for the majority of the article.

        do you understand?

        Nothing against your shooting style though. Keep that one up. but maybe tone down your writing style.


      • Elie,
        A word of advice …. if you’ve managed to cause this much offence and misunderstanding in a short post perhaps you need to take a look at your style of writing.

        It’s not simply a question of the people reading it being over sensitive or too unworldly to grasp your sense of humour or references but a fundamental shortcoming in the way in which you put forward your ideas in this medium.

        Stop trying so hard to be wacky and full of personality it doesn’t do you any favours and gets in the way of any insight you may have to offer.

  25. This article would have been better received if the author just stopped making an attempt towards jokes. it was just distracting and it conveyed a condescending and arrogant tone to the whole article. When I finished reading the article, i really had to make an active effort to stay positive and just try to extract the main learnings from the article. so i do get the positive parts of it but believe me, without active effort to fight it, the negative parts can easily overshadow the whole article. i think that is why a lot people do have negative response against the author’s article and just a few bits there who actually liked it. i for one am in the middle where i want to like your article for the learning it provides but am constantly being forced towards hating it due to the bad taste the article left in my mouth. So yeah, i would need some drink to wash it down.

    Goodluck next time.

  26. A laboursome way to get your point across — and the point was…?
    It looks like Steve got rid of the offensive language because it was gone when I slogged through the article– maybe even Steve didn’t read it before posting it here. LOL

  27. Constructive criticism:

    I do not like your writing style at all and could not even finish your article. Not only is your attempt at being funny corny, silly and distracting but you come across as quite arrogant. Some of it is probably due to the translation and the differences in our cultures.

    I have seen lots of great photography submitted to this site but what really surprised me was when I looked at your pictures. For one who sees himself as an expert and is here to “teach” everyone else, your pictures are flat and plain and have the look of snapshots.

    I normally do not comment when I do not like something but I thought it might help you with your future articles. Good luck.

    • I believe you missed that he said from the beginning that neither was he a good photographer, nor a street photography guru. You could have saved time by just looking at photos and then go away. This article is great for beginners to get an easy to read and remember simple introduction to the subject…

      • Actually, if you admit you don’t know much about a subject I wonder why you feel you can inflict drivel like this on us. Why this site owner should have chosen to publish it is beyond me. I’ve never seen so many negative comments on a an article here, and I’m sad to say they are all well-earned.

  28. I’m sorry…but what a horrible article. The jokes were not funny and was like dressing up a corpse in a brocade. One can’t cover lack of substance by saying it is sort of a joke…and not serious. So what should we do with that then? Laugh…I suppose…if it was funny.
    A few parts actually offended me! Using ‘niggaz’ is ok if it is ironic or used in a context of humour …BUT using it with the implied relation to ‘shooting’ is just ignorant and racist.
    Suggesting there is something uniquely ‘different’ about a French Muslim wearing a hijab is a bit ignorant as well.

  29. I assume this blog doesn’t have many black readers. I dare you to come to my town in the southern US and say that colloquialism for African American to a black person’s face.


    • I had to go back to find that reference. And now that I have I’m surprised that it was published on this site.
      not cool.

    • This diatribe, on street photography maybe tongue in cheek, but the author needs to think who is reading this article. Coming from a West Indian heritage and yes I own a Leica, do I really need to see these two words? They add nothing to this article…

    • Dear GK,

      I hate racism, from the bottom of my heart. I was just making fun out of Snoop Dogg, quoting some of his ‘insightful’ lyrics. This is 2nd degree. Thanks for your understanding.

    • GK, are you black? I find that it is mostly white men who object to such writing, maybe our of some sort of false sense of anti-racism? Spend your energy chasing real racism instead, there is lots of it in your country still today unfortunately.

      • GK…because some white men are smart enough to know that a black person would be offended by amwhite person uttering the word ‘niggaz’. Sort of in the same way you may be offended by white men who object to such writing. It doesn’t matter he is quoting ‘Snoop’ …it is out of context and used in relation to ‘shooting’.
        It may not offend you at all …and it doesn’t really shock or offend me,per se, except for the fact the writer has very little consideration about being offensive. THAT’s what I find most offensive…the writer’s disregard and/or ignorance .
        And also… “Someone that looks French ” and comparison with a Muslim wearing traditional dress…that they are not French. That is a stereotype.
        These are hardly capital R racist remarks… Just reflective of a very poorly written article.

  30. If it was your intent to have an informative, insightful and unique of view on the subject of Street Photography, I certainly didn’t read any. Drop the jokey tone (it’s condescending) as you are not a comedian or humorist. A bit racist to call someone in a hijab someone that doesn’t look french as well.

    • Dear Rumball,

      If I saw a woman in hijab with the Eiffel tower in the background, I would take the picture. That’s basically what I said. Does it make me a racist? Think a little bit. A racist doesn’t even want to SEE women in hijabs. I want to take the shot to make it last forever. Please, think.

      Yours sincerely,

  31. “This is the last part of this utterly boring article.” How cute.

    Well, it was long on words but short on inspiration. And are you wanting everyone to say, “no, no, it was not boring”? Pretentious, perhaps.

    All the old cliches are there, the cuddling couples, the stolen nap, kids on shoulders. Hold on, the disinterested gnarled squatting hobo didn’t get a guernsey, though. One gets the idea that “street” is supposed to be seen as hip (“I shoot street”) but what’s to keep or remember at the end of the day?

    Positivity generates the new and the different, the fresh view. I didn’t see that here.

  32. Very Nice review? But you are wrong on one point.
    About Henri Cartier, what he said us what you say!!!
    I am french, and what henri means is that sharp picture doesńt make it a good picture.
    So yes, sharp lens are expensive, and so, made for reach or
    He meant to say that sharpness is not the most important.

    Sorry 🙂

  33. Wow, what a horribly written article. I don’t think I know anyone who would read this all the way through and consider it anything more than a transcript of a spastic conversation the author is having with himself.

    It actually debases the subject severely.

    Notice how many people feel you’ve touched on bits here and there but have given no answers? This is a perfect example of blogging to see one’s self in print – like talking to hear your own voice. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Off I go to take pictures.

  34. This is just a lot of blabla with no real insight. The pictures are average at best. Sorry, but I disagree with most of the comments here: This article was not worth reading.

  35. Hi Elie,
    Don’t think I’ve managed to finish your article yet, will try later, maybe. Quite a salient point about the equipment, have been caught in that trap! The best way as I see it is to stick with one or two prime lenses, they are faster and you can shoot in such varied light conditions. Your point about all these buttons on DSLRs is quite valid, and like me I prefer to use what I see in the rangefinder as a canvas, inasmuch as you’d want to create a whole scene in your photography, which you might find more difficult with a DSLR/SLR, but with a rangefinder you can see how an image will develop.
    Didn’t we always do some post processing after capturing the image? Either in the chemical laden environs of the darkroom? Or later in the Lightroom? If you’re like me I’d enhance or slightly alter the contrast, but you might say I’m a lazy photographer who prefers to use the image I shot with as little alteration as possible.
    The main point I remember about Henri Cartier Bresson is the phrase decisive moment.When the view finder contains all the elements to create an image.
    Nowadays most cameras can create wonderful images, but it does depend on if you can ‘see’ the image in your minds eye as you are capturing it. If you’re like me me you want to return to the days where you had complete control of the image you shot.
    You might say that the Leica can capture images in a certain way that a DSLR can emulate, but if you’re like me AF is a system I don’t entirely feel sure using, if it is perfectly adequate. I have not got complete faith in it. Call me a luddite if you want to.

  36. The time has come where artists define their work by consulting Wiki? OMG! OMG! OMG!! Smiley. JK.

    In all seriousness… great article Elie – I love your tongue-and-cheek-ed-ness.

    Fantastic images as well!

    I’m not a tea or coffee drinker, but I’ll take a Smirnoff if you have one.

  37. Marketing, you touch the subject but give no real answers. That’s the biggest hurdle for almost ANY photographers but of course mostly for those who really have something worth marketing. Question..What are you selling? You’ve mentioned Flickr, Facebook, Instagram…what are those good for? Exposure? And now that you got exposure, what are you going to do with it? Again, how do you define yourself as a photographer who wants actually market him/herself and therefore actually sell something, a tangible product. There you go..that’s where the stumbling block is. Until you make your product worth looking at, on paper (and trust me, 99% of the times inkjet just doesn’t cut it), you got nothing.
    Photographers who want to achieve something aside the occasional FB “Like”, and various ego stroking online pats on the back, have to get serious about printing their work in a way that offers the viewer and potential buyer, a tangible, potentially valuable piece of artwork. Until photographers get serious about putting their worthy images on paper, via darkroom, or other serious alternative processes (which yes, require knowledge and skills few are willing to learn these days, opting to instead pushing a couple of buttons), what they got is basically nothing. Nothing to hang in galleries, nothing to show curators, collectors, and again, nothing to sell (unless of course one wants to simply do stock photography or give everything to Getty to get a few dollars per image, as a digital file).

  38. Cute article.
    one warning, all photos that you post on social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram instantly belongs to them. As in by the user agreement (you read that didn’t you?!) by using their sites you have surrendered all rights to those images to them. So even if you only post a small image on FB, and kept the full size one for yourself to sell etc, they can sue you as they own that now too. It’s the same image.
    And they can do what they want with it..

    Welcome to the new age…

    • Here is the blurb from Fb stating (in part) as such:

      For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.

      me again… FB also gives itself the right to change it’s policies whenever they want. Also notice that in the above statement they mention unless it has been shared. This is their get out jail free card as the moment u post it is shared.

      Here is the one from LinkedIn:

      Additionally, you grant LinkedIn a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual, unlimited, assignable, sublicenseable, fully paid up and royalty-free right to us to copy, prepare derivative works of, improve, distribute, publish, remove, retain, add, process, analyze, use and commercialize, in any way now known or in the future discovered, any information you provide, directly or indirectly to LinkedIn, including, but not limited to, any user generated content, ideas, concepts, techniques and/or data to the services, you submit to LinkedIn, without any further consent, notice and/or compensation to you or to any third parties. Any information you submit to us is at your own risk of loss

      Me again.. the only good thing about the linked in statement is that they make it crystal clear what they are doing . Fb and the other sites bury it. How do I know all this stuff? Just got back from meeting with copyright lawyers…

      Bottom line, if you want to keep your images, do not post them on social media.

      • You can still keep your images and post them on social media. You still own your image and can do whatever you like with it, and facebook, or any other social media site is going to do nothing with it. What else are you going to do with it? If there is some super rare chance you have something that will sell for $10,000 then maybe you do not want to post it on facebook, but 99.9% of images in social media are nothing like that. Social Media is a good way to get your work noticed if done correctly. Keeping them to yourself is silly as there is no real reason to do so unless you have no interest in being social. Those who fear that facebook will steal an image and make money off of it are being silly, as that doesn’t and never will happen. If you do get lucky and find an image you can sell, doesn’t matter. Images do not sell for much these days anyway, trust me. Ive done album covers, posters, books..all while posting those images on social media as well. So posting on social media does not mean you do not own your image. I keep my images and post away, no issues.

        • the moment u post on social media sites like fb u no longer own your images.
          it is as simple as that, which is why they have it written out in their terms of use.
          You may still use the image, but should a time come when FB (or one of the other social media players) decides to claim it, and money made from it, things will change.
          Sound far fetched? In my meeting they discussed how a near term project for FB is to release their own image library. Currently they already have billions of images. Think about the implications. They already have rights to them for no cost, including those of pro photographers who use FB. Other traditional image agencies had to buy their images which puts them at an incredible disadvantage in the future.
          Anyway, I put this up as a heads up. If you don’t believe this is going to happen fine. Just read the two usage agreements i quoted above. And wonder why they would write that.

          Just in case anyone gets the wrong idea, by social media sites I do not mean sites like etc.!

          peace out.

          • But, and I’m just going to say this, there is at this point practically speaking no commercial value to even very well done individual images, with exceptions being so rare as to be ridiculous to even concern yourself with. It’s an affront that Facebook has written ownership of its users’ images into their user agreements and worse that they’ve gotten away with it. But any real harm coming from it is just a little bit of a fantasy. We can type out scenarios on our keyboards here in comments sections on the internet but that’s where it all ends. Facebook isn’t stopping any photographer from making money or licensing their \ own images, they don’t and couldn’t monitor something like that. I know photographers who post images to their Facebook “PAGE” (Page meaning not a personally named Facebook but a business named Facebook Page) that they are selling.

    • Sorry, that is totally wrong. You have to grant them usage rights. But you still remain the owner. Please inform yourself before making such statements, which confuses everyone. Thanks.

  39. Just take a 35 eq lens equipped camera, go out, previsualize, set appropriate settings, and use your eyes. Easy and challenging at the same time.

    • Hi,

      I am the author of this article. I just want to say that there are a very few things I hate as much as racism in this world. Some people understand 2nd degree, others don’t. I guess you don’t.

      ‘Niggaz and bitches’ is a quote from a Snoop Dogg song, I was just making fun out of the guy. Come on!


  40. Yes, I enjoyed this and it helps me warm up further to trying my hand at “street photography” with the lenses I’ve got. As to your point about framing, I would frame quite a lot of your shots differently, but that’s how it goes, I suppose.

  41. Some very valid points buried in colloquial cushion. Nice examples of street photos. The previous post about the M9 in Cuba had some good street photos too. Trying to put rules on street photography is a little like putting rules on finger painting or drinking a pint of beer. I imagine most people could agree that “Don’t take sloppy photos.” could be a summary rule. I have a couple of related posts called Your Doing It Wrong – Street Photography Myths (refutes rules) and F#@k ISO – Take The Shot over at

  42. “Don’t shoot animals, of course, shoot people (niggaz and bitches)…” Wow, now that’s offensive!

    I wish this post included something (anything!) insightful or interesting rather than the standard gear babble, useless “tips” and personal marketing garbage.

    • A word of advice to the author of the post – turn down the language and stop trying so hard to be wacky it doesn’t do you any favours. Maybe you’ve got something to say but too often it’s lost in amongst the persona you choose to write in!

    • Lol, you are either ironic or…
      For the offensive part, I love how he makes an excuse, then goes on to apologize for something entirely different! 😀

      Language and culture evolves, and me for one is glad that the n word is beginning to seriously evolve from a racist meaning or a black to black word only to encompass everyone in some usage, just like you can hear the term “Nazi” for depictions that has nothing to do with world domination of the matter race or genocide. If course, you will still offend some, but street photography worlds also not exist if you did not risk offending someone. In some countries like Morocco it can even be hard to take a single photo without offending someone! So, if this is the case, I chose to be offensive with language and photography, what I want to avoid is purely to be racist or hateful.

  43. So:
    1. Choose a camera you are comfortable using
    2. Choose a lens that renders as you want
    3. Choose an aperture that works for the scene
    4. Take pictures of interesting things
    5. etc.

    …Don’t shoot animals, of course, shoot people (niggaz and bitches)… Holy crap! What am I talking about?! Please, feel free to replace ‘shoot’ by ‘take pictures’ if I didn’t make myself clear…

    …Damn you. I asked you at the very beginning if you wanted some tea or coffee, you said no. And now we reach the end, you want coffee. If you didn’t only exist in my head, I’d kick your ass… Well, not exactly but I would certainly snap your nose…

    …It has very less to do with it. The character of an image mainly depends on the character of the LENS used. ‘Aha! You are fucked, Leica users!…

    …Well, hi Dick. Can I call you Dick?…

    Well, you will anyway, right?

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